Reuniting with the Magical Bestselling Author Michele Barrow-Belisle
TWS: Since your previous interview, I have been following your success stories. One headline really needs to be addressed, your book Fire and Ice is becoming a movie! We at The Write Styles congratulate you on this remarkable achievement, congratulations! Please, can you update our readers on what they can now expect from Fire and Ice? And of course, how you feel about this dream come true?
Michele: Hi Julia, thank you so much for your good wishes, and for the opportunity to share more of my story! It’s been a fascinating journey so far…the movie deal is the cherry on a really yummy sundae. I don’t have many details that I’m permitted to share about the movie at this point. I can say it’s a lengthy process, and things are moving forward, which is exciting. It’s been fun to hear details about the budget they’ve set for the film, and brainstorming directors, screenwriters, and cast, as well as discussing potential filming locations.
I’ve been granted a rare behind the scenes access to the much of the process, for which I’m extremely grateful and excited. It’s like getting a personal tour of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, lol. I’m loving every minute. I can share that the film production company has optioned the first book, and has intentions of producing films for every book in the series. And speaking to that, as you may know, the Faerie Song series was originally intended to be a trilogy. But it very quickly became apparent to me that three books weren’t going to be enough to tell the story I wanted to tell. Or the story the characters wanted told. (they can be rather demanding, lol) So now it’s called the Faerie Song Saga, and it will include a minimum of six books in the series. And potentially, four films.
TWS: What inspired fire and ice?
Michele: I guess it’s deeply rooted in my love of all things fantasy. That combined with an interest in magic and faerie lore. When I first started writing Fire and Ice, it was with the intention of writing for a younger age group. I wrote the first draft and then set it aside, not sure what was missing, but certain it lacked something fundamental.
Subsequently, I finished the first draft around the time the Twilight books had come out. It pretty opened the door wide open for the “YA (young adult) and teen/adult genre crossover. Suddenly I knew what needed to change. I went back and revise the entire story, aging up the characters to fit the YA genre and adding in a stronger romance element.
From there it took on a life of its own. It makes me laugh when I look back. At the time I only planned to write this one book and nothing else. Now, I can’t seem to stop writing, lol. I’m addicted!
TWS: How long did it take you to write your books and where did you find the time to write?
Michele: Fire and Ice took the longest. Technically it was a six-year process when you combine the time I started it, the years I set it aside and the time I rewrote the final draft. The rest of my books, fortunately, haven’t taken anywhere near as long. I can write a first draft in about 4 or 5 months.
Drafting goes fairly quickly. It’s the editing and rewrites that take the most time. And since most of my books are on the longer side, I typically release a book a year. My readers and fans especially wish I could write faster, and so do I, but I struggle with maintaining quality while writing quickly. I’m getting a little quicker though.
For me, finding the time to write is like finding the time to eat. When its something you have to do (because it feeds your soul) you automatically make the time. There are some days when I don’t write at all, and others, I’ll write for ten hours at a time or more. It varies, and I try not to get too caught up in structuring time for my writing If it doesn’t happen one day for some reason or another—because of you know…life—I know that if I just wait it out I’ll get back into it again.
I think a big part of that is giving yourself permission to devote the time and letting whatever amount of time you can commit to, be okay. If I write for five minutes, that counts. If I write for an hour that counts. And if I write for twelve hours, that counts too.
Every word on the page adds to your total word count, so they matter. Of course, I’m partial to the days when I can write uninterrupted for hours on end, but that’s certainly not an everyday occurrence.
Reuniting with the Magical Bestselling Author Michele Barrow-Belisle
TWS: Michele, it is very easy to lose one’s passion once success is achieved. What has kept your passion of writing alive?
Michele: That’s an interesting question. I think for most creative people, they don’t lose their passion, they just channel it in a different direction. My writing is kept alive, because it really has a life of its own. I adore stories and have been making them up in my head for as long as I can remember.
When I’m standing in line at the grocery store, or people-watching at the mall, I’m drafting mini scenes in my head. Making up explanations for why that guy said what he did to the girl next to him, what might have come before and what could possibly come after.
So, part of the passion that fuels me, is that there’s literally no end to the possibilities. It became a little more challenging after I was first published. Before that, my writing was just for me. I always intended to share it with the world, but there’s nothing at stake really when you’re writing just for you.
It took some course-correcting to get used to the idea that I was writing for the world. And what I had to and still have to hold on to, is knowing that even though my work is being seen and judged, I’m still just writing for myself. I write what I love to read, what entertains me, and I write the stories the characters want told.
TWS: Did you ever have those days of writer’s block? What did you do to overcome those days?
Michele: I’m not sure that I have actually. Somedays I don’t know what to write, and it’s during those times that I’ll jump to another story or start something new entirely. But I’ve never experienced a block. There are just so many ways to overcome not know what to write.
Another great cure for writer’s block is reading. Without fail, diving into a fabulous novel inevitably leaves me itching to start writing again. Or playing the just imagine. Imagine if your character had only three days to live. What would they do? How would they react. It doesn’t matter if that’s part of the plot or not, it just helps to get the creative juices flowing again. And sometimes taking a break entirely for a few days is what’s needed.
I do that from time to time, and I never label it as being “blocked.” It’s just a change. I’ll binge watch some Netflix or go to the theater to see a movie…two things I love but don’t have much time for. Again, it’s more about giving yourself permission, and not getting caught in the cycle of frustration of not being able to come up with anything to write.
Letting go and relaxing is often the best cure. Just not for too long. Take a break, then dive back in. It’s not always easy, and yes, writing can be hard. Publishing…even harder sometimes. But it’s so rewarding to push through the tough parts and come out victoriously on the other side. Passion and tenacity definitely help.
TWS: Can we expect another book?
Michele: Definitely! I’m addicted, remember, lol. I actually have a new release that came out at the end of February. Melt is the fourth book in the Faerie Song Saga. The reading order is Fire And Ice, Bittersweet, Freeze, Melt, Burn, and Darkest Light. The last two are on the coming soon list. And, you’re the first one to hear this, but there will be a Faerie Song nomenclature/compendium, with illustrations, and additional stories and lore from the Nevermore. No idea when it will be finished, but it’s in the works.
Additionally, I’m working on an entirely new series with witches, called Written In Red. Also a standalone novel, a reverse fairytale retelling of Cinderella set in a post-apocalyptic world, called Cinder And Ash. And lastly, I’m working on the second book in my children’s picture book series, Pirate Wishes 1-2-3. The first one, Fairy Wishes 1-2-3 (if I Could Be you and You Could Be Me) was released last year.
That pretty much sums up what’s on my plate at the moment, but you never know when that might change, lol. Honestly, I’m just following my muse and seeing what unfolds.
Thank you so much, Julia, for inviting me to share my writing journey, it’s been a pleasure!
Thank you for your time Michele!
If you missed last weeks article, don’t forget to go check out 16 Amazing New Work From Home Writing Jobs!